NASA Robot to Explore 'Bottomless' Pit

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Buzz Mills, May 15, 2007.

  1. Buzz Mills

    Buzz Mills New Member

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    NASA Robot to Explore 'Bottomless' Pit

    SPACE.com

    A robotic yellow submarine will journey this week to the world's deepest sinkhole, which already has taken the life of one diver who sought to reach its bottom and discover the life that might exist there. Others have tried to reach the end of this seemingly bottomless pit in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, known to be at least 925 feet deep, but no one has ever succeeded.

    The self-automated "DEPTHX" (Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer) will search the depths of the El Zacaton cenote, or geothermal sinkhole, for life and also study its dimensions and look for the vents that feed it. NASA, which funded the robotic explorer, views the mission as a test-run for a potential journey to Europa, a moon of Jupiter thought to contain liquid water beneath miles of ice--and possibly complex forms of life. New technologies that could help explore its ocean will be put to the test during the robot's descent.

    "We'll spend the first two days checking out DEPTHX's sensors, updating its software and performing a test dive to 250 meters [820 feet] to check its pressure housings," said David Wettergreen, who helped create the 8-foot-long submarine. Once the vessel passes it final exams, Wettergreen and his team will have six days to probe the sinkhole's watery depths. "It's an ambitious program," Wettergreen said, "but the vehicle performed well in two earlier field tests at the La Pilita cenote," another Mexican sinkhole.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20070515/sc_space/nasarobottoexplorebottomlesspit
     
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  3. Autumn2004

    Autumn2004 Inactive

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    Im curious to see what other life forms exist that we arent aware of, thanks for posting :)
     
  4. Peter Hamilton

    Peter Hamilton New Member

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    I saw the Discovery program on Europa--Its the only moon in the Solar System that has water--but the ocean is covered by ice 5 to ten miles thick--They've developed a heat probe that can hopefully make it thru Europa's ice--Scientists,some of them,believe that life may actually exist deep down in that ocean despite the super cold surface termperature of minus 250 degrees Farenheit
     
  5. KarlK

    KarlK New Member

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    How do you pronounce that?
     

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